The sale of the prestigious English club is underway: what fate awaits Manchester United?

The sale of the prestigious English club is underway: what fate awaits Manchester United?


The most interesting soap opera in the world of football right now is not the one involving the future of Lionel Messi, rather it is the one concerning the potential sale of Manchester United.

For the past few weeks, the British media have been making a big fuss of this news and it's even more true since the deadline for submitting offers to the Glazer family, the current owner, fell last Friday.

The American family has obtained offers from Qatari Sheikh Jassim Bin Hammad Al Thani, who is from the royal family, as well as the Briton Sir Jim Ratcliffe and his group INEOS.

However, we have learned, on Saturday, that the American fund Elliott Management had also submitted a financing offer.

A lot of money

According to leaked data, the Glazer family would like to obtain 5.1 billion pounds sterling (8.3 billion C$) to divest themselves of the prestigious club.

The Financial Times puts the club's value at £2.9 billion (CA$4.7 billion).

That's a very significant difference, but there's more to everything that because the club is heavily in debt. According to the Telegraph, “Man”'s debt reached 514.9 million pounds (CA$841 million) in 2022, up 23% from the amount of 419.5 million (CA$685 million) in the financial year from 2021. 

This is where Sheikh Jassim's proposal becomes interesting as he offers to completely erase the club's debt in order to restore it to its former glory.


Sheikh Jassim's offer is for the whole club, but do the Glazer family want to sell permanently or are they looking for rather a financial partner?

The Sheikh, who runs one of Qatar's biggest banks, was educated in England and is a die-hard Manchester United fan. He sees big for his heart club.

“The Nine Two Foundation will erase the debt and will then invest in the teams, the training center, the stadium, the infrastructure, the partisan experience and in the communities that are supported by the club,” reads a statement transcribed by the Telegraph.

“Our vision is for Manchester United Football Club to be recognized for footballing excellence and to be perceived as one of the greatest football clubs in the world,” the statement added.

Sale or investment? 

There remains an unknown detail that will make all the difference in this case. Does the Glazer family want to sell at all costs or do they want to get fresh money? Nobody can answer this question.

The Qatari offer is for a pure and simple takeover and this also seems to be the case with the one submitted by Sir Jim Ratcliffe. Observers agree, however, that the latter will not be able to compete with the very deep pockets of Sheikh Jassim.

As for the offer from Elliott Management, it is different because rather, it proposes to organize a financial arrangement for a takeover by a third party. The American group wants to pose as a matchmaker in the end.

And everything is expected to fall into place when? 

In an ideal world, by the end of the season for the new administration to be in place when the transfer window closes ' will open.

Football analyst for Sky Sports, Kaveh Solhekol believes that if there are only two offers on the table, things could be settled rather quickly.

Glazer family peek

Manchester United is owned by the Glazer family of Americans. It was the late Malcom Glazer who first took ownership of the team after owning the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL.

A native of Rochester, New York, he made a fortune in real estate, owned a bank, and established the First Allied Corporation which invested in a variety of businesses including Harley-Davidson and Tonka Toys.

It was in September 2003 that he acquired his first shares in Manchester United, a company then listed on the London Stock Exchange. At the end of 2003, he held 15% of the club's shares and doubled his participation in October 2004.

In May 2005, he bought 28.7% of shares from two other owners and ended up with 57 % of the shares.

A few days later, his ownership increases to 75% of the shares within a month, he owns 98% of the club and then buys the remaining 2%. In all, he will have spent £790 million (CA$1.3 billion) to become the sole owner of the club.

In an effort to refinance, the Glazers sold shares on the New York Stock Exchange. Since the death of Malcom Glazer in 2014, the family shares (90%) have been divided equally between his six children. 


< p>Most of the capital used for this purchase came from loans, which involved annual interest of 60 million pounds (C$98.3 million).

The level of indebtedness sowed doubt among supporters who were reluctant to the arrival of the Glazer family. Some of them created F.C. United of Manchester, a club which played in the sixth division from 2015 to 2019.

The Manchester United Supporter's Trust has been working since 2010 to find a way to return ownership of the club to supporters.

On June 29, 2005, around 300 fans demonstrated at Old Trafford, the club's home stadium, and around 100 police officers had to intervene. Supporters claimed that the Glazers were enemies of Manchester United. The 'Love United Hate Glazer' campaign lasted for several years, while Manchester United Supporter's Trust membership swelled to 125,000 in 2010. 

D' other protests

The relationship is therefore rocky between the Glazers and the supporters, and the failed attempt to create the European Super League in 2021 has added fuel to the fire.

Even though the club quickly recanted following the protests, on April 22, 2021, around 20 supporters invaded the club's training site to demonstrate against the Glazer family. Two days later, 2,000 people demonstrated.

Another demonstration took place at Old Trafford on May 2 in connection with a match against Liverpool. This time there were 10,000 people. Around 100 protesters took to the pitch and the game was delayed and then postponed.

It was the first time in Premier League history that a game was postponed due to partisan demonstrations.